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Beginning of the Year Activities!

The beginning of the year is such an exciting time. It is certainly exhausting, but I always love getting to know my new friends and their abilities, interests, learning styles right from the start. I absolutely love pulling out my “beginning of the year” book bin and reading all the various stories I have in there along with doing some sort of literacy activity. Here are a few ideas as you head back to school!
For beginning kindergartners, it can be a real struggle to recognize the difference between letters and numbers.  Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is a wonderful book to help kids learn what letters are in the alphabet. I pair this book up with a hands-on sort where each little friend comes up to choose a magnetic letter or number and put it under the right category.  This is a great early identifier of who knows their letters and who will need a little help!
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 Another variation of this activity is for those who have a little better understanding…they don’t have the letters and numbers already up there on the board to match it up with- they have to figure it out on their own. All you need is a bag of some sort, letters/number tiles and a board!

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It is also important to see which students can identify beginning sounds of letters already- this I generally do with my 1st graders, but would work for kindergartners too if you have some who already know all their letters. I got this container from a hardware store a few years ago and it’s been in my classroom ever since! I have a basket of small pictures- my friends choose a picture card, say what it is and then open the little drawer with the correct beginning letter on the front. They love this! L, M, N, O Peas is a great book to help get students recognizing the beginning sounds of words- it lists a few words for each letter as you read through the story.

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The Letters are Lost and Boom Chicka Rock are two more letters-focused books that are perfect for back to school reading! I break out the sorts/matching activities right away in my room, so here’s another chance for my little friends to show me what they know when it comes to beginning letter sounds.

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Who doesn’t love a little hunt?? If you don’t have the Alphabet Adventure, Alphabet Rescue and Alphabet Mystery books yet, I highly recommend them! My little friends love these stories because of the engaging story lines and fun graphics. These tie in well to then doing our own hunting as well…for vowels vs consonants!

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Of course I also love to see who can already read basic words and who knows their sounds within words. Matching CVC words to pictures is always a big hit because my friends can practice saying their sounds and search for pictures to go with each word. What will Fat Cat sit on? has a lot of CVC words within the text so it is great for having students read along with you!

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Identifying who can rhyme early on is very important to recognizing struggling readers. Not being able to rhyme is a HUGE indicator for struggling readers because it means they aren’t hearing the sounds in words like the rest of us do. Even if students can’t read yet, you can read the words and then have them search for a word that looks the same at the end or listen to you read words to find a match.

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 I’m also so very excited to get going on Close Reading right away with my little friends this year to get us paying attention to the text we are reading/listening to right away! This will help develop their comprehension skills right from the beginning- I want my little friends to really listen to what we are reading and use specifics from the text to support their answers. I know they are going to love these poems, non fiction & fiction passages all about heading back to school!  If you haven’t tried out close reading with your little friends yet, check out these posts here and here for more information and examples of how I get my students really reading closely!

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Thank you to: Hello Fonts by Jen Jones &  i Teach What’s Your Super Power for the amazing fonts and graphics! Click on the images below to check out more details about these packs!
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Have a great day!


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Aylin Claahsen

Providing resources and support to engage all readers.

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Hi, I'm Aylin!

I’m so happy you’re here! I’m a certified reading specialist who loves talking all things literacy. I have a huge passion for providing resources and support to engage all readers!


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